Manchester United’s core players representing their countries in Euro 2020 and Copa America respectively meant that a heavily rotated side travelled to Pride Park to take on Derby.
United’s great relationship with Derby County football club meant that setting up a pre-season game in front of 8,000 was a no brainier. The strong links between the sides could be seen as Wayne Rooney – Derby manager – fielded a team that included grisliest Ravel Morrison and captain Tom Lawrence, both graduates of United’s system.
For United though, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had the chance to see some exciting young talent in the form of James Garner, Dylan Levitt and Teden Mengi who were on loan last season and his new experienced signing, Tom Heaton.
Heaton(GK); Wan-Bissaka(RB), Tuanzebe(CB), Mengi(CB), Williams(LB); Garner(DM), Levitt(DM), Mata(AM); Chong(RW), Elanga(LW), Greenwood(ST)
How it went down?
The match can be best described as the typical first came back. Proceedings began at a pedestrian pace as the players got used to the oddly large Pride Park pitch and the return of fans. Derby began the game dominating possession in spells but with very little penetration.Embed from Getty Images
United’s impetus offensively was provided by Tahith Chong, set for a loan at Birmingham city for the coming season. One thing that’s been levelled at the forward is his lack of physicality being a problem. However, against a championship side, Chong made a good account of himself, being persistent with his pressing, and on one occasion it gave him the opportunity to get his goal.
That was the story of the first half in truth, the only real highlights were Chong’s goal and Tom Heaton’s reaction save to keep United ahead. The save was one that United fans have seen too often in his world-class performances against United, it was nice to see him make the save but to our benefit.
The second half brought a whole host of changes with only the centre back pairing of Mengi and Tuanzebe surviving the shakeup.
Grant(GK), Galbraith(RB), Tuanzebe(CB), Mengi(CB), Telles(LB), Matic(DM), Pereira(CM), Lingard(AM), Shoretire(LW), Pellistri(RW), Hugill(ST).Embed from Getty Images
The second half display signalled some improvement in United’s play. Most of that can be attributed to the fact that Matic played as a sole defensive midfielder while Pereira played more advanced.
Lingard had a huge influence on United’s performance with a lively showing driving at the Derby backline. Lingard was key to United’s second goal, finding Shoretire who put Pellistri through one-on-one with the keeper whom he nonchalantly rounded and slotted away.Embed from Getty Images
Pellistri was another of United’s most impressive performers, drawing in fouls but still willing to constantly run that right channel. Pellistri wasn’t alone, Will Fish was introduced after the hour mark with Dishon Bernard to replace Mengi and Tuanzebe. Fish’s physical build made him stand out but he looked confident at the back, despite this being his second appearance at senior level.
Derby did manage a goal as United let slip as Derby’s Kazim-Richards rifled one in low and hard passed Grant.
What next for Manchester United?
United travel to west London to face QPR at Loftus Road as they continue to prepare for the new season.